A few years ago, the Austrian resort of Hintertux could have been damned with faint praise as "the best summer ski area in Europe". The glacier was a great place to test snowboards or for ski racers to train for the World Cup season, because, for a glacier, it is challenging terrain. You might even have flown to Innsbruch in November and nipped up there for a weekend warm-up, pre-season. But it was hardly viewed as a proper ski resort.

A few years ago, the Austrian resort of Hintertux could have been damned with faint praise as "the best summer ski area in Europe". The glacier was a great place to test snowboards or for ski racers to train for the World Cup season, because, for a glacier, it is challenging terrain. You might even have flown to Innsbruch in November and nipped up there for a weekend warm-up, pre-season. But it was hardly viewed as a proper ski resort.

Now, everything's changed. Where there was Hintertux and the bigger, more rounded resort of Mayrhofen some miles down the valley, now there is the Zillertal 3000 ski area. A few minutes on a free bus from Hintertux itself is Lanersbach, whose slopes are now linked over the Wanglspitz with Mayrhofen's. Add Hintertux's glacier and the Sommerbergalm area, and you now have 214km of pistes pretty much linked. Recent seasons have seen improvements in the gondola lifts on the glacier, too, so uplift time has been slashed.

Which are all good reasons to ski at Hintertux, but don't explain why you should stay there. After all, Mayrhofen is a major party town – home to the British Snowboard Championships, for example – and, in the Elisabeth, has one of the most stylish hotels in Austria. Hintertux is the better choice if you're more likely to be waking up at 6am, rather than going to bed then. When the denizens of Mayrhofen are sipping Resolve and realising that the best snow's at the top of the valley, you have already made half a dozen sets of fresh tracks. Not that Hintertux is dull: at après-ski time, the bars at the bottom of the Sommerbergalm gondola are booming. And there are nightclubs in both Hintertux and Lanersbach, with a bus running between the two villages until 2am.

Thomson is at the vanguard of an army of operators in Mayrhofen, but only a few operators, including family specialists Esprit Ski, have packages to Hintertux.

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